Thank the high heavens Marvel vets Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente stay away from camp. Both Tarzan and Conan frolicked their wondrous locks through the dirty boroughs of New York City; hell, even the classic Wonder Woman’s made her Manhattan rounds once or twice. Thankfully, former Olympic god Hercules doesn’t look so stupid doing so. Sure, he’s as tall as Lebron James and twice the size of the former WWF version of Herc; but this reformed hero has taken justice closer with fists than his former jolly-go-lucky, godly ways.
The usual oafish writing from Van Lente and Pak on Herc in the past is thrown aside for more seriousness. And considering the man just lost his athanasia in the Chaos War, I don’t blame him. Yet, thankfully, there’s no depressive sobs, or overly moralistic themes drowning the fun. The mighty one still swills down seven varying mixed drinks in one of ol’ Liberty’s many hubs, stands quip for quip with the ever-swaggering new Hobgoblin, and displays a newfound conscience that grew, perhaps, from all those years spent alongside the young and wise Amadeus Cho.
Those who followed Fantastic Four earlier in Jonathan Hickman’s run post-Dale Eaglesham know what Neil Edwards is capable of. Moreso, Edwards makes Herc his with some unruffled panel shifts and even heavier lines. The detail in this book, especially during the final page reveal, is outstanding.
About that final page reveal (don’t worry, no spoilers)… I’m just not sure it’s the direction I’d go with this book. While grabbing a few big time hoodlums from Spider-Man’s endless gallery makes sense, reverting back to “tradition” could steer away from the book’s initial intent. The direction both Pak and Van Lente are taking with this book — exhibiting Hercules’ tragic period — should not go short-lived. That notion would be both a disservice to fans of the new status quo and to those of street level affairs.
As for right now, the shiftier, torn-to-creative Herc is anything but a mockery, so here’s to a brewski, or several, for hoping it stays that way.